How to follow Intermittent Fasting in the right way. A comprehensive Intermittent Fasting guide
Before we understand intermittent fasting, let’s understand why Fasting is important and what it does to the body. Fasting as a practice is not new. Fasting has been existing since Hippocrates physicians. Fasting used to be a method to heal the body. And we define fasting as “willful refraining from eating for a particular period of time”. Let’s not confuse fasting as eating a particular choice of food. Ideally, when we refrain our body from eating anything, our body goes into certain physiological changes, such as:
- Our body refrains from surviving on glucose as a source of energy
- Body throws out all toxins in order to function better in limited resources
- Our body tries to switch to other sources of energy
- Our body cleanses from within
Physiology of Fasting:
This may sound a bit scientific, but lets understand a micro level within our body what happens while we fast:
- Feeding: When we eat our body releases insulin and due to the release of insulin, our body is able to convert carbohydrates into glucose. Excess glucose is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen.
- Absorption: The nutrients go in the body and gets utilized while they are in their micro-units. This period is anywhere between 6-24 hours. So, your real fasting game will only begin after 6-24 hours of the last meal. (Depends on how much and what food you ate)
- Gluconeogenesis: After all the converted glucose or stored glycogen getting depleted from the body. The liver manufactures new glucose from amino acids in a process called “gluconeogenesis”. Literally, this is translated as “making new glucose”. This essentially happens in the 24h -2 days cycle.
- Ketosis: 2-3 days after beginning fasting. The low levels of insulin reached during fasting stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy. Ketone bodies, capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, are produced from fatty acids for use by the brain. After four days of fasting, approximately 75% of the energy used by the brain is provided by ketones.
- Proteins conservation: >5 days – High levels of growth hormone maintain muscle mass and lean tissues. The energy for maintenance of basal metabolism is almost entirely met by the use of free fatty acids and ketones.
In case if you want to take full benefits of fasting, ideally you should be making your body lead all these physiological stages to let the body heal from within and get to the actual fat burning process.
Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of fasting and eating. First of all let’s not confuse this with any form of eating. There is a science behind IF principles. You need to make your body adapt to 2 main phases:
- Autophagy: When your body sets the healing process. It is the body’s own mechanism to remove unnecessary cells and dysfunction components.
- Ketosis: The process of burning fat to release energy.
Ideally, the time period to set to this state can vary between 3-7 days period depending upon how quickly adapts to ketosis and autophagy.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting:
- The 16/8 method: In this method, you eat in 8 hours window frame and fast for the next 16 hours. To begin with, it can have a 10 am: 6 pm eating window. Gradually move it to 1 pm: 9 pm feeding window.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
Points to remember before starting up on an intermittent fasting routine:
- Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean you can eat anything and everything. Refrain from eating junk. That will stall your weight loss progress
- Eat healthily & include all healthy sources of nutrition in your diet.
- Refrain from including grains, refined food in your diet.
- Prefer organic food produces in your diet
- Make sure to eat only 2 meals and no snacks in between. Only water if you want to keep it a clean intermittent fasting diet
- Include more greens, vegetables, and fruits to include all essential nutrients in the diet.
Steps to start on an Intermittent Fasting routine:
- Firstly make a diet plan of 2 meals a day. Make sure to include a portion of proteins, different vegetables, some nuts as well fruits in your meal options.
- Then stick to a 16:8 hours fasting: feeding window.
- Wait for about a week to set your body into ketosis as well as autophagy phase.
- Keep tweaking your diet options based on your body’s response to your current diet.
Try balancing each meal with a good variety of healthy whole foods, such as:
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, peaches, pears, etc.
- Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, etc.
- Whole grains: Quinoa, oats, barley, etc.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocados, and coconut oil
- Sources of protein: Meat, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.
Dr. Sneha Chopra is on a mission to help 1,00,000 people live longer, be healthier & lose weight using the ketogenic diet. She is a ketogenic diet expert and a health educator. She would like to help you in your journey of achieving great success, longevity & prosperity by improving both your internal game (mental wellness) as well as your external game (methods to achieve your weight loss goal. Take free body assessment test here : https://bit.ly/2NNTqfz